Comparing National Communities
The group is now ready for the next part of the project. The project center in Jerusalem should ideally twin the school with one in another country that is also implementing the project.
  • Using an agreed common language, each member of the group will write a personal letter introducing him-/herself to someone in the other school. After a personal introduction in which the students offer some description of their personality and life, they should talk about themselves as Jews; describe the Jewish life they lead and their feelings about it, and introduce their Jewish community, recording how they feel about it.
  • Collect all these personal/communal identity cards and send them to the teacher coordinating the project in the other school. You can do this either via the Internet or by more conventional means. If possible, type all the reports to make them more legible for the people in the other school. (These ‘identity cards’ and the class report will be sent together to the ‘World Jewish Congress’.)
  • At the other end, hand out the individual reports to the students and help them, wherever necessary, to understand them. Their task is to prepare a presentation for the class (in small groups?) that will include a portrait of the individual whose card they have received, and his/her attitude toward the community.
  • After this, sub-divide the class into small groups that must try to use all the information they have received to construct a preliminary report on the other community. The groups should then share this information in class so that, based on the letters that they have received, all the students obtain an optimum picture of the other community.
  • The class should then consider whether they have learned or inferred any information on the national community in which their ‘twin’ community is situated. List any information on the board. This can be the point of departure with regard to the national community about which they are about to learn.
  • Now give the students copies of the other class’s ‘World Jewish Congress’ report to read and assess. We suggest that this be translated into the native language of the group. They should study it and prepare answers to the following questions:

    1. What were the things that most impressed me about the national community of ---?

    2. What were the things that most surprised me?

    3. In what ways are there similarities between my own national community of Jews and that of the other community?

    4. What are the things that seem most different between the two national communities?

    5. What, if any, things would attract me to live as a Jew in the other community and what, if any, things would least attract me?

  • With the report in front of them, the class should examine the answers to the ten questions. You may also want to use the national community reports that we have written for each of the communities involved in the initial stages of the project, presented below.
  • Then go over the students’ answers to the above questions as the basis of a class discussion.
  • Finally, ask the students how it affects them to learn about other Jewish communities. Is it interesting for them? Do they feel any connection with the other Jews? If so, why do they think this is so? If not, why do they think that they do not? This exercise concludes the second part of the program.



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30 Nov 2006 / 9 Kislev 5767 0